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Photo Credit: isuckatpicking

GDB 21.0 Wrap Up: Undefeated in the Hitchcock era, Oilers win 4-3 in OT

Two. Big. Points. Final Score: 4-3 Oilers in OT

What a day, right? I don’t know how many of us woke up this morning expecting to see Ken Hitchcock behind the bench, but here we are in a brand new era. As I said this morning in the wrap on Chiarelli’s press conference, I refuse to heap all of the blame on Todd McLellan for the way things have gone lately, especially when you consider the cards that the GM gave him to play with. That said, the guy certainly shoulders part of the blame, especially when you consider the weird lineup choices and his tendency to, in my opinion, favour certain guys over others when it didn’t necessarily make sense. Since tonight was only the first of the Hitchcock era, I was excited to see how he handled the bench or if he sat back to watch things play out. While we definitely saw some changes to the line combos and overall deployment tonight against the Sharks, I know it’s only the beginning. Over the next few weeks, it will be very interesting to see how he handles some of Todd’s favourites and continues to put his lines together.

Back to tonight’s game, I legitimately burst out laughing when the San Jose Sharks opened the scoring only 45 seconds into the first period. Right after Donskoi scored, Sportsnet cut to a shot of Hitchcock on the bench for a reaction shot and it was absolutely hilarious. I would have loved to know Hitchcock’s first thought at that moment because his face said WTF. The bright side, obviously, is that tragic start to the hockey game wasn’t enough to derail the Oilers’ entire night as they finding solutions to any problem that was thrown their way. On three separate occasions, Edmonton found ways to tie the game up after the Sharks took a lead and that’s the kind of resilience that has been non-existent over these last couple of weeks. Rather than lay down and die, they kept their feet moving and kept fighting until the job was done. Call it the new-coach-bump or a whatever you want, but that’s a big win over a divisional opponent that they’re trying to catch in the standings.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • First game as the Oilers head coach, first win in the bank. Nice start for Hitchcock.
  • Remember when a certain media member said that Connor McDavid’s offence might go down a bit with Hitchcock as his coach? Connor remembers. He always does. Midway through the first period, Connor McDavid tied the game up at one with his 100th career goal after finding space in the slot and beating Jones with a quick snapshot. Nice way to give his new coach a taste of what he can do.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a huge shorthanded goal that tied the game at two apiece after he and Kyle Brodziak broke away on a 2-on-1 chance. Brodziak sent over the pass to Nuge and he roofed it. But then after he scored, all I could think about was how Nugent-Hopkins is 25-years-old and Ken Hitchcock is already his sixth NHL coach (7th if you count the few days he had with MacT).
  • Drake Caggiula scored a huge goal early in the third period, answering back after Logan Couture gave the Sharks the lead late in the second period. Caggiula charged towards the net with his stick on the ice and tipped home a perfect centering feed from Connor McDavid.
  • Are you surprised Leon and Connor closed the game out in overtime? Of course not. On what seemed like a broken play, McDavid got the puck out to Draisaitl in the slot and had it bounce in off his skate and past Jones. It may not have been the prettiest goal those two will ever score, but they all count and for that I’m grateful.
  • After allowing a pair of goals in the first four shots against, Mikko Koskinen did a really nice job of settling things down and made the saves the team needed from him to get the win. It wasn’t necessarily a perfect game, but I liked the way he battled through the early adversity and never let the Sharks pull away on the scoreboard. Koskinen finished the night with 22 saves and a .880 save%.
  • Darnell Nurse played a team-high 25:04 tonight and did a nice job with it. He was physical, moved the puck well, and rose to the challenge against a tough San Jose offence.
  • Speaking of the defence, the entire top four played over 20 minutes with only Benning and Gravel finishing under 15 in total. Will be interesting to see how Hitchcock spreads the minutes around as we move forward.
  • Solid night on the PK for the Oilers as they killed off all three chances they faced. More efforts like that, please.
  • Booze not beets wincast is coming up! As always, you can follow along and join in the chat over on my Twitter.

THE FACE PALMERS

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
  • Did anyone else burst out laughing when Donskoi scored only 45 seconds into the hockey game? I sure as hell did. Welcome to the Oilers, Ken!
  • Marcus Sorenson restored the Sharks’ lead after he took a perfect pass from Joe Thornton into the slot and roofed it over Koskinen’s shoulder. For a guy that’s 12 feet tall, Koskinen gets beat upstairs a fair bit. Just me?
  • Logan Couture gave San Jose the lead going into the third period after he absolutely walked past Adam Larsson (embarrassingly actually) and scored with under a minute left in the second period. For the second time tonight, the Sharks were able to beat Koskinen upstairs which will never cease to amaze me since he looks like he’s on stilts, but this one is on Larsson for losing his jock on the play.
  • Only 40% in the faceoff circle tonight which is not good enough.
  • The Oilers got blanked on the power play tonight, though they did only get the one chance. Personally, I find it hard to believe that the Sharks only cheated one time tonight but I guess the always consistent NHL referees saw it differently.
  • Kris Russell left the game in the first period but I couldn’t tell exactly what was up. The report from Twitter was that he left for concussion protocol but, as you’d expect from the Caroline native, he was back in the game shortly after.
  • I’m going to miss Todd McLellan’s suit game. The threads were always sharp and the haircut was always tight. Sail on, good sir.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
00:45 San Jose Joonas Donskoi (5) ASST: Joe Pavelski (4), Brent Burns (20) 0-1
08:09 Edmonton Connor McDavid (13) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (12), Adam Larsson (8) 1-1
10:32 San Jose Marcus Sorensen (4) ASST: Joe Thornton (3), Kevin Labanc (10) 1-2

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
01:46 Edmonton Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (5) ASST: Kyle Brodziak (1) 2-2
19:04 San Jose Logan Couture (7) ASST: Tomas Hertl (12) 2-3

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
03:32 Edmonton Drake Caggiula (7) ASST: Connor McDavid (17), Leon Draisaitl (13) 3-3

OT PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
00:51 Edmonton Leon Draisaitl (13) ASST: Connor McDavid (18) 4-3

#GOODCONTENT

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BLACK FRIDAY

Coming up on Thursday night at midnight, our annual Black Friday collecting drops for a limited time only. We’ve got hats, a tee, hoodie, and toques and they’re pretty dope so you’ll definitely want to check it out. Every year, we sell out of all of these items so be sure to get to NationGear.ca as fast as you can if you want to score something to beautify your wardrobe.


Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/20/2018 – 11:45 pm MT

  • Heschultzhescores

    There is a renewed sense of hope. The team made lots of mistakes, but never quit. That is an improvement already. Fresh start, let’s roll with it Guys. Kosk had a shakey start, but made the big saves when it mattered!

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I think everyone had a sense of nerves. Once they got on the ice with Hitch and Hitch gets them learning the system and the assistants and Hitch get a plan for the defensive, PK and PP systems I think it will look a lot more smoother and a lot more effective, you have to remember Hitch said it himself there was no time to get to know one another they had to get right at it.. I will say this though, Hitch had the Oilers throwing hits and taking the body, something they have not been doing enough of this year, and one of the reason why I think the Oilers were an easy team to play against. Hitch does not like his teams to be that way, he wants it to be a rough ride from the start to the finish of the game

      • A-co

        I can’t believe I’m saying this but Lucic looked good in a reduced roll with brodziak and kassian tonight…cycle the puck and take the body..it’s just tough to look past the contract of $6 million on a 4th line player

        • Boba The Fett

          Lucic brodziak kassian was actually 3rd line but if you listen to Hitch’s post game comments I think he has a good plan on how to deal with Lucic.

        • jdubs

          not my money so I could care less how Hitch uses Lucic…if he gets a good game out of Milan (which he did), then that’s what counts. He had Milan hitting and wearing guys down – then 2x shifts #97 to pounce on the tired team….good strategy.

  • Heschultzhescores

    I think Hitch is gonna tidy this team up. We talk about all these coaches we have had, but how many actually have won a cup as a head coach? Exactly!

  • A-co

    How could this team go about adding 2 more defenseman? Good win tonight nice to see them win one for Hitch… BUT Benning does not deserve ice time and gravel is a good #7

    • Boba The Fett

      The only hope is that maybe in a more structured Hitch system and with some help from Yawney the 3rd pairing can become less of a liability and perhaps a bit more reliable…..just hope for now tho

      • A-co

        The old cross your fingers 3rd pairing…how much worse would Jones and bear look playing 3rd pairing minutes? Then you’d have bear for the PP as well..and Jones for the 2 unit…not ideal BUT a look into the future

        • OriginalPouzar

          Ethan Bear has another real tough game at the AHL level last night. He is really struggling to find his game this year. At this point, he’d be the third call-up behind Jones and Lagesson as far as kids go and likely behind Lowe.

          I like Bear, solid prospect who will have an NHL career but he shouldn’t see NHL time this year, well, at least for a few months – he’s got work to do in the AHL.

          • Janitor of Section 7G

            Just curious if you watched the Condors game last evening and you are basing your assessment of Bear based on what you saw? I can only go off the box score and 1 assist, 1 shot and an even +/- rating doesn’t scream “another real tough game” to me but not having seen the game his stat line could be misleading…

        • OriginalPouzar

          Ethan Bear has another real tough game at the AHL level last night. He is really struggling to find his game this year. At this point, he’d be the third call-up behind Jones and Lagesson as far as kids go and likely behind Lowe.

          I like Bear, solid prospect who will have an NHL career but he shouldn’t see NHL time this year, well, at least for a few months – he’s got work to do in the AHL.

  • Datsyukian

    Regarding Koskinen getting beat upstairs, it seems to me that he is usually slightly out of position on these kind of shots, maybe staying a tad too deep in the net and leaving too much space to the left of himself for the shooter. Still, I would take him over Talbot any day.

    • Odanada

      Hard for any goalie to stop the snipes right under the bar. Perfect shots usually go in. It will help when we start making those perfect snipes too.
      Koskinen stole us a game – it was great to see.

    • hagar

      Seems to me that he is being taught a “go too” positioning technique he didnt have before. He was awesome, and I already love Kosk, but he is using talbots classic move a few times a game now. He is still awesome, but he let one or two tonight using that move when he could have squared off his instead.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        I said before that Schwartz has Koskinene crouching too low, almost making himself small, when I was told this by someone who saw it in practice I said to them “WTF you have to be kidding me” and they said no. Schwartz needs to go

        Last thing that Koskinen needs to do is make himself small, he has the advantage to fill the net with his size

    • Odanada

      Hard for any goalie to stop the snipes right under the bar. Perfect shots usually go in. It will help when we start making those perfect snipes too.
      Koskinen stole us a game – it was great to see.

    • OnDaWagon

      :”Only 40% in the faceoff circle tonight which is not good enough

      We won. It’s good enough for me. Frig the faceoffs. More goals than the other team. That suits me fine.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Hitch got his first win as an Oilers HC which has to be pretty sweet for a guy who never thought he would be a HC especially of a team he watched relentlessly. Lets hope this is a sign of better things to come